This post is a continuation of my Steps on the Healing Path series. You can read the first and second installments first if you wish.

A few months after my first Reiki Attunement, my lover and I moved from New Orleans to Salem, Oregon. A year later, we split up. I moved--first into a questionable apartment complex in downtown Portland, then into a house with my new lover--and his two young children. Transition, work and motherhood kept my head spinning for the next few years. But in early 2007 I looked around and realized I had settled into a kind of rhythm, and I wanted to continue my training as a healer. I met with two different reiki masters who I found by searching on-line. By early March I had chosen a teacher, and at the end of March I took my second class.

This new teacher worked in a completely different way from my first one. She offered her classes and attunements privately, so I got her full attention. We did a brief review of the topics covered in level one--hand positions, Reiki's origin story, etc.--since it had been a while since my first class.

Then we moved on to level two subjects, like drawing and using the reiki symbols, guidelines and ethics for working with clients, and the best methods for doing distance work. My new teacher talked a lot about self care: being aware of how a client's energy might affect you, taking time after each session to cut the connection between myself and my client, clearing my energy field of anything I accidentally picked up. We also spent some time discussing the chakra system and some of the tools of Pranic healing and neo-shamanic healing practices, because my teacher has spent years exploring all three.

Finally it was time for the attunement.

My teacher gave me a repeat of the Level I attunement before giving me my second attunement. She felt that having all three attunements from the same master would provide a better sense of continuity (I agree). She also felt that a refresher never hurts. The re-attunement (as I think of it) was very subtle, energetically. It didn't feel like something new so much as a slight tweak of something already in place. Like tuning a musical instrument, perhaps.

But the second attunement was unexpectedly intense. During one stage of the attunement process, I saw an image of a river as if I was standing in the woods peering at the river through the trees. Golden light poured through the leaves and danced on the water. During another stage, I "saw" and felt my hands melting and reforming. It might sound disturbing, but it wasn't; the sensation was pleasant, and magical.

After the second attunement I felt energized and charged up for several days. And the experience of giving reiki changed completely: the energy moved more freely, and I began to perceive more with my intuition and inner sight. I started to develop a practice in unexpected ways: more about that in the next installment.